Fiction with an edge

Monday, 13 October 2014

Robert Shove ... RIP

My dear friend and author, Robert Shove, who had been battling Parkinsons for two years sadly passed away yesterday in Epsom.

A truly inspirational and charismatic man, his wonderful stories included many from his life in the military (not the secret service element!), and running businesses both here and abroad. His enthusiasm for the Plymouth based writing group, Portal, and the wonderful lunches that he and partner Sue hosted for members at their house on Plymouth Hoe will never be forgotten. 

It was Robert who, in 2006, came up with the original idea for my thriller, The Messenger. His time in the Military especially his service in Korea had a profound effect upon him, his outlook on life and his attitude to war, even more so in his later years. Robert's concept of a soldier, plagued  by visions of war dead, fighting for peace was one that fascinated me and, as Robert felt that he could not write fiction - his stories (Tales from a Kitbag and Tales from a Briefcase) being factually based on his life experiences, he gave me the idea to play with.  It was then that I created the story of Special Forces soldier Jack Chandler and over the next five years wrote The Messenger - the first in a trilogy of Jack Chandler novels.

RIP old friend - at peace at last.  

Friday, 10 October 2014

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Effectively the UK is a company and we are the shareholders, but have you ever seen a balance sheet for it? We're told it's making (or losing) X amount, but where's the proof - where's the P&L account, the capital account, the auditor's stamp? If you were a shareholder of a company and the MD said "Well, chaps, I'm not going to show you the figures, but we're losing money so there's no dividend - and we're going to demand each of you make up the shortfall." What would be your reaction?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

CUSTOM-DUNK.COM - BEWARE! delivered incorrect goods (wrong style & wrong size) and refuses to deal with the problem.

On November 23rd 2013 a  young lady, for the purpose of this article, we will call her Alice, ordered from the above company one pair of Converse The Avengers Captain America shoes at a price of $68 together with a shipping charge of $25 - the order confirmation for which quoted a 5-7 day delivery standard. (This would have put delivery at between  28-30th November.)

After Alice made an emailed enquiry as to the whereabouts of her goods, a package finally arrived on December 9th. However, the shoes were the wrong style, incorrect size and the packaging quoted someone else's name.

An exchange of emails took place between Alice and Kelly Smith at Custom-dunk whereupon on December 11th Kelly Smith stated that she would deal with the matter immediately.
Despite numerous emails to, and copies of those emails being sent on the site's internal contact facility, Alice and her order have been ignored and her money witheld by the company.

Alice has just turned 18, suffers type 1 diabetes and the money she paid for those shoes was hard-earned, but that appears not to matter to Effectively, the company has seen fit to take her money and run.   

Companies which don't give out physical company addresses or telephone numbers, relying rather on hiding in the shadows of email communication can often be dubious. It would seem, based upon Alice's experiences, is one of those companies.

According to, the domain name was created by Lea Notthoff in December 2012 and, despite the payment being required in dollars, there is no indication on the site of whether the company actually operates from the USA. 

So, beware folks. Don't let your young people experience the same problems that Alice has with this company. You might also want to look carefully at the wording of the reviews on site - after Alice's treatment, one might begin to wonder if they are actually written by customers.

British trading Standards and the Better Business Bureau in the US have been contacted.  
As a matter of interest boasts the following on its site:
"We believe that if we give our customers a great shopping experience, then growth in sales will eventually come on their own. So rather than focusing on maximizing profits, we focus on maximizing the service that we provide. committed to your complete satisfaction, it is our top priority. In addition to offering a wide variety of merchandise, we strive to provide you with the best service in the industry."  IN ALICE'S CASE, IT HAS FAILED, MISERABLY.